Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The merely diabolical flash fiction contest RESULTS

Sorry these results are so late.
Last week was kind of a rough week.
It's weird how that malaise comes and goes.

Current events don't help, and news about the economy isn't
great but it's not like I'm unemployed like so many folks are.
And not trying to deal with kids at home (how are parents are not insane at this point??)

But here we are, almost mid-August.
Still alive still sane (sorta) still breathing.

And herewith the results:

Special shout out to frenchsojourn.

I'm not sure what to say about this but it was fresh take on the contest, something I always appreciate.
A weary Samurai trudges down a dusty road, accompanied by the increasing tempo of a timpani.

“Sono jigoku no raketto o tome nasai, anata wa fopdoodle,” he shouts looking at Sinju impatiently.

A dust cloud on the horizon slowly approaches. The Samurai kneels and takes from his pack some steamed requin with rice. A stickler for routine.

“Kōtei no goei wa watashitachi o koroshimasu,” Sinju says preparing to run.

“Tabun anata wa anata no raketto de sorera o saikon suru koto ga dekimasu ka?”

“Regale?” Sinju looks at him inquisitively.

“Mā, sukunakutomo watashi wa kūfuku de shinu koto wa arimasen.”

Sono jigoku no raketto o tome nasai, anata wa fopdoodle
Translation; Stop that infernal racket you fopdoodle.

Kōtei no goei wa watashitachi o koroshimasu.

Translation: The emperor’s guards will kill us.

Tabun anata wa anata no raketto de sorera o saikon suru koto ga dekimasu ka?

Translation: Maybe you can regale them with your racket?

Mā, sukunakutomo watashi wa kūfuku de shinu koto wa arimasen

Translation; Well, at least I won’t die with an empty stomach.

Shout out to Matt Krizan for a very meta entry.
Matt scrolled through the list of words, muttering to himself as he wrote them down.

“Fopdoodle. Yeah, knew that was coming. Stickler, okay. Requin? Seriously? She picked requin? Oh man… sorry, everyone.” He shook his head. “Timpani, yeah. And regale. Yeesh. Diabolical indeed.” Certain other colorful words floated to the surface of Matt’s mind, but he managed not to say them aloud.

He doodled in the margin of his notebook.

He sighed.

He wrote several words then crossed them out.

Another sigh.

He threw down his pen and reached for his hiking shoes.

“Screw this. I’ll deal with the heat.”

I didn't quite get this one.

Timothy Lowe
Lucinda didn’t want a rescue. An eminent professor and vegan, she would raise her boys right. Three perfect adopt-a-pup terriers (terrors) named Fop, Doodle and Sam. Nightly, she regaled them with Go Dog Go as they shredded her John Fluevogs.

“More quinoa?” said Lucinda, ever the stickler.

Head pounding like a timpani, she would get up all hours. Change pee-pads on her parquet floor. Feed Yipper and Yapper (Fop and Doodle). Stroke the head of little Sam, who had night terrors. Curse a lot.

“I need a rescue,” she said one sleepless night.

The next day, she got another dog.

I didn't get this one either. It's almost certainly my numbskulledness.

"Use online services for license renewals," the stickler repeated, after six hours on hold with too much timpani.

Fine. Roy had a Google.

If only the library were open. While the librarian helped, he'd regale her with the one about Helen at the USS Requin, til some fopdoodle interrupted.

Hit On, not Volume. Where was the Google? DOL...renewals...new account? Email? Junior made him an email once.

Junior said that was a Facebook.

Roy accidentally made three emails, but after that the DOL account was easy.

From: proudpops1941@gmail.com

To: RoyHernandezJr@stanford.edu


Told you I wouldn't miss it.

Here's the long list

He thought us fopdoodles, he did. Going on about his encounter with a requin, like some old fucking man and the sea.

We believed none of it, but he liked to regale, never a stickler for the truth, and Mike, not much of a stickler for decorum, himself relished banging his stein on the table now and again, his timpani against the bloviating orchestration of our host. But he was the host and he was paying, so we let him explain how he would have caught Bruce.

“I wouldn’t have needed a bigger boat, that’s for damn sure,” he insisted.
that first sentence in the second paragraph has 45 words, and it's not confusing. That's skill.


When the regal envoy ripped up the proposed menu, the head chef, Tim, panicked.

"Mais non! Ma soupe aux ailerons de requin est de renommée mondiale."

"The Queen is a stickler about avoiding cannibalism."

"Cannibalism! Mon dieu, c'est impossible!"

"She's requested a chilled truffop d'oodles o'noodles."

"Truffop? Qu'est-ce que c'est?"

"With a creamy vodka chum reduction on the side."

Tim squinted. "Chum?"

"Various leftover, um, bloody fish parts."

"Pas dans ma cuisine!"

"She was most insistent."

"Zut! Nous n'aurions pas dû annuler l'interdiction de voyager pour vous Américains."

"The Queen has particularly good taste--


--in fiction."
Zut alors, mais oui!

Craig F
“Don’t bother with fopdoodle Louise, I see you watching her.”

I couldn’t regale him with the truth.

I knew the cause of it. I saw the requin smile when she made Tim panic himself to death. She was probably already spending the insurance money.

Tim wasn’t a stickler for details, though. The million dollars of his insurance money was still in the name of his first wife.
'Talk about a twist!

Terri Lynn Coop

“Triple word score, so 48 points.”

“Fopdoodle isn’t in the Scrabble dictionary.”

“Being a stickler is the last refuge of a LOSER,” he said making an L on his forehead.

“Why don’t we have another game?”

“I didn’t have time to shop before the quarantine. How about some music?”

“What have you got,” I asked with a preemptive cringe.

“I can regale you with Requiem for a Requin, a Symphony in Timpani.”

“You mean surf music?”

“Well, yeah.”

“You do know that if effusive pedantry lasts for more than four hours, you should seek medical attention.”

“So, 48 points?”


A symphony in timpani!!!

Here's the shortlist

BJ Muntain
"Playing the bongos" sang the fopdoodle-in-law as he pounded my orchestra-quality timpani with bare hands.

He wouldn't stop, so they came with us on our trip to the ocean. I'd promised him the chance to regale Les Requins with his music.

"Say." He attempted a roll with ham fists. "What are those? The Requins?"

"They're swimmers." I loaded the boat. "Sticklers for music. They'll love you. We need the boat to reach them."

"What's this stuff?" His nose wrinkled at the container.

"It's a new kind of sun block. Tres chic. Les Requins just eat it up."

They did. 


Jennifer Rand
Tim panicked as he awaited sentencing. His antics from the night before, while still a free man, crashed down on him.
"You're quintessential fopdoodles!" he'd yelled recklessly.
A stickler for au courant debate, Tim couldn't resist. They were fools, especially the tall man, Alistair, with his greasy hair and his stupid notions. He and his band of sycophants regaling the entire pub with their ill-informed ideas on policy were more than a man could take.
Now, in the clear-headed light of day, Tim could see his colossal mistake as the bailiff called out,
"All rise for the honorable Judge Alistair Smythe."
Mallory Love
Tim panicked. He shouldn’t have. Gaslighting was our game, and we were good at it.
After all, we’d convinced the neighbors we were quintuplets when we'd moved into the dorms, although none of us looked alike. We had fooled Professor Ling into thinking “fopdoodle” was a dirty sex game. We'd always regale the ladies at Tap’s Bar with all the great adventures we never took. Sure, the chancellor was a stickler for law and order, but come on. 
Who was really going to believe it was the five middle-aged CEOs, here for the class reunion, that burned down the stadium?

It says nothing good about me that I find this hilarious.


A Percussionist's Tale
Tacet-80 bars.

Due to his nervous tick Leroy looked like a middle-aged, balding man trying to get back into the dating game, after having been absent for however long it had taken to gain 50 pounds.

"Why you winking at me?--25, 26," Quincy whispered.

"Nervous tick--37, 38--from when--."

"Don't really care," Quincy interrupted, barely audible. "You look like a--59, 60--fopdoodle."

"A what?--62."

"An idiot!--66."

"Psst, guys, I lost count," Tim panicked, triangle at the ready. "Are we at 71 or 72?"

"Now," Leroy whi
This isn't quite a story, but it made me laugh.

“I am,” she said, clinging to the beam, “a codswallopping fopdoodle for trusting you.”

“Rather… unconventional final words.” (This from the dock, looking down.)

“I’m a stickler for unconvention,” she said. “Maybe I should swallop you with a requin.”

“You said codswallopper.”

“And sharkswallopper. Cursed lakes require resourcefulness.”

“Can you even reach me from there?” (This with a glint.)


“Animus, at last! I knew it wouldn’t take long.”


“Listen, you strega—”

“Lecturing me??! After my warnings?”

“What warni—ARRRRRBBBBBBLE!” (This sea-bottom, blinking up.)

“Turns out,” she said, wringing the fringes of her dress, “I’m also an impswallopper.” 

codswallopping fopdoodle is my new favorite phrase

Marie McKay
He played in the school orchestra, the love of my life. He regaled me with his stamp, and requin shark teeth collections. He was a stickler for shoe polish and spit-slicked hair. All of these things might have made him unattractive to the other girls. A bit of a fopdoodle, maybe. Too boring. Too shy. Too quiet. But not me. Not me.

For when we danced, I'd put my ear to his skinny chest to hear the sound of the timpani heart inside it.

Of course this is lovely and elegant. Look who wrote it.


I changed my mind six times as I worked on this.
The last two were cause Blogger was behaving badly in formatting, and I had to repaste this.

But in the end, this week's winner (or realy last week's!) is BJ Muntain! It was a story, and funny, and fopdoodle in law made me laugh all six times.

BJ, drop me a line with your preferred mailing address and what you like to read and I'll get you a book in the mail.


Colin Smith said...

Congrats BJ! And also congrats to NLiu for this past weekend's win!

I have updated the Contest Spreadsheet in the Treasure Chest.

nightsmusic said...

There were a few I didn't get on this one. Maybe I'm just mush-brained. I dunno. :/

Congrats, BJ!

Brigid said...

Woohoo, congrats BJ!

Roy was an elderly man who had to brave the Dept of Licensing website all by himself (due to the pandemic) in order to renew his license to make it to his namesake grandson's Stanford graduation. I was thinking about the choices I would make and the challenges I would face if this pandemic were happening at a very different stage in my life.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

A contest and I missed it.
Nice to be back to the living after a week off the grid hauling water in the dark. I'm too old for this sh##. How the hell did pioneer women do it?
Anyway congrats to the mentions and winner.

S.P. Bowers said...

Oh, parents are insane, but we always were so you can't see a change.

The malaise has hit hard this month. I'm trying not to let it get to me because it will only get worse from here. Remote learning for four kids starts in less than two weeks, Plus I'll have a whole garden (hopefully a years worth of veggies)to harvest and preserve at the same time. Hopefully no one wants to eat or wear clean clothes.

Congrats BJ!

Lennon Faris said...

Congrats, BJ!! Very well done! I had an inkling what "Les Requins" might be, but googled it to make sure. The ending is priceless.

And congrats to all the others as well. It amazes me that there are always such distinct ideas with the same prompts.

NLiu said...

Congratulations BJ Mountain! (The chum screen plainly wasn't at all fishy.)

S.P. Bowers - yikes! Can the kids claim learning to process vegetables as a biology / food science elective for extra credit??

NLiu said...

Otto can't spell your name, BJ. I apologise, and refer him to Les Requins for further instruction.

french sojourn said...

Congrats! BJ Muntain, nothing fishy about this win, well done and well deserved! I really enjoyed the entries in this contest, well done everyone.

Thanks Queen, stay well.

Cheers! Hank.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Two perfect choices and well worth the wait. Our Requin Queen is feeling better and these flashes are brightening the world. All is well in the known universe.


Beth Carpenter said...

Congratulations, BJ,and all the other finalists. Great stories! I especially enjoyed Brigid's protagonist who managed to create an email and get his license renewed all by himself.

Brigid said...

Thanks, Beth! It took me six phone calls to the DOL to not-accomplish the same task.

Craig F said...

Congrats BJ

Had to get that out because I'm speechless to have made it to a list with all of these damned talented people

Thank yo, my Queen.

John Davis Frain said...

Congrats, BJ. That's a terrific story. So subtle, and yet, it's all right there. I was busy and read too fast my first time through last week, but I totally enjoyed my second chance, so thanks for posting again, Janet.

As further evidence that I can't judge these contests (much less get the answers right on my entry much of the time), I remember right after I entered reading through the entries that were already submitted and thinking "Doh! This one'll be a no-brainer. Colin hit it out of the ball park. And now it's not on the long list. Lesson: I don't have a future as an agent. Lesson I'm so far refusing to learn: I don't have a future as an author.

Lesson for all of you: Keep writing. There are some stars here, and the world needs to read your stories.

Just Jan said...

Congratulations, BJ! And to all of the finalists--nice job. Reading these are always a bright spot in my day.

BJ Muntain said...

Wow! Thanks Janet and everyone! I was late getting online today, and almost missed this. A nothing day has been brightened immensely. I was impressed I made the short list. I am so happy to have brought laughter into your day!

NLiu: Otto will do nicely, swimming with the fishes...

Colin Smith said...

John: No sweat, bro! We can't always make the long or short list. There have been plenty of times my favorites don't make it. Just another reminder of how subjective this is, especially when the competition is tight and everyone's on their game. I'm honored you liked my work. :)

Jennifer Rand said...

Congratulations BJ!!

KDJames said...

Huge congrats to NLiu (yesterday) and BJ Muntain!! Excellent work, both of you.

Thanks for the shout-out, Janet. That never gets old or ceases to surprise me (especially with my dreadful attempt at French).

I so enjoy reading these entries, maybe more so when life is just too busy to come up with an entry of my own. Thanks to all of you who participate and entertain!

Marie McKay said...

Congrats, BJ Muntain. Excellent win. Thanks, Janet, for taking the time to run these contests.